Outdoor Activities, Outdoor Places To Go

Great low cost but fun days out for families

Great low cost but fun days out for families, Inspiration for days out and some ideas about how to make the simplest activity into a fun day.

Entertaining kids is far from cheap and as they get a bit older their expectations grow. They may not be satisfied by a simple trip to the park anymore. But how do you entertain them on a budget, especially during the Summer holidays which can seem an extremely long time to keep them busy. Especially when they are used to the constant stimulation that school provides.

Where Can You Go?

They want more than a trip to the park but where else can you go…. What can you do with them?! The sun is shining, you desperately need to get outdoors and your mind goes blank!

Days out are fantastic but take in ticket prices, food, treats….. a day out can definitely be a big expense. I also find the pressure of worrying about the weather, the traffic, timings etc can certainly take the ‘fun’ out of a planned trip especially if it has cost an arm and a leg to go!

I have fell into a bit of a trap where I think a good day out is an expensive all singing, all dancing activity but I have found that the majority of the time my son (and myself) probably enjoys the simple things a whole lot more.

So I am on a mission this Summer to get back to basics….. after all the best memories are made just spending time together.

Thinking up ideas of things to do is so difficult though, more so if the sun suddenly shines and your blessed with a nice day where you just have to get OUTDOORS.

After wracking my brain and a lot of research I have come up with a list of ideas where you can go, either for free or for not a lot and some ideas about how to make the simplest activity into a ‘day out’. Some are really simple things but using a bit of creativity can be made into a whole lot more.

I have included a printable list at the end of the post just in case you find some inspiration!

Days Out – Outdoors


If your lucky enough for a nice day, it is impulsive to want to get outdoors and get some ‘fresh air’. There are plenty of woodland areas in the UK and during the summer months many have activities aimed at children such as trails or nature hunts you can collect when you are there or download on line beforehand. 

Forestry England has forests all over the UK, the details and locations are all listed on the website. They are currently running a Gruffalo Party trail, which is a short interactive trail suitable for younger children but could be enjoyed by the whole family. https://www.forestryengland.uk/delamere-forest/gruffalo-party-trail-delamere-forest 

Gruffalo themed Downloadable activity sheets can be downloaded and printed, just pop your email in and you will recieve the download link. https://www.forestryengland.uk/family-activity/gruffalo-party-trail-activity-sheets

There is plenty to do in the forest for the whole family, the perfect place for bike rides, walks and exploring. Great picnic spots and plenty of space to run around.

Forestry England do have car parking charges and these vary depending on your length of stay. The Gruffalo trail packs do cost £4 but still a very cheap day out.

National Parks

There are 15 National Parks in the UK, 10 in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland. Each park has its own unique landscape with beautiful wildlife and fascinating cultural heritage.

Each park has thousands of kilometres of public rights of way to explore, with many accessable trails suitable for the whole family.

https://www.nationalparks.uk/parks/ has a list of National Parks with details and activities.

Country parks and Green Spaces

Country parks offer a green space for the whole family to enjoy, many have accessable trails and some have childrens play areas, woodlands and lakes.

During the Summer months many country parks offer ranger activities or nature trails. 

Each borough has a list of Country parks and green spaces usually on the council webpage.

Cheshire East https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/leisure,_culture_and_tourism/ranger_service/countryside_sites/countryside_sites.aspx

Staffordshire https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/environment/OpenSpaces/List-of-Parks-Picnic-Areas.aspx

North Wales https://www.visitwales.com/things-do/attractions/gardens-and-country-parks/country-parks-wales?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwjqWzBhAqEiwAQmtgT9Aa_zr3qjNlDhqAMkzvNdcDO10Y9L1Z2mTC7GBjiNeXA8fiilECHRoC46EQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Manchester https://www.visitmanchester.com/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/parks-and-gardens/

Liverpool https://liverpool.gov.uk/parks-and-greenspaces/


There are many beautiful beaches in the UK and kids just love spending time at the seaside. There are so many free, fun activities you can do on a day at the seaside, even if the weather isnt on your side. Activities such as rock pooling or sand sifting will keep kids entertained. Check out the post 50 things to do at the seaside for beach activitiy inspiration.

The beach guide is really handy as it has a location map with details about each beach including terrain and parking. https://www.thebeachguide.co.uk/

Visit Wales has a great article giving information about 10 fantastic beaches for families. https://www.visitwales.com/things-do/nature-and-landscapes/beaches/great-beaches-family-holidays-wales?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwjqWzBhAqEiwAQmtgTzt9Kd_ER53dEFZJhpBry-qaTAvQTeRasB8env_hv7ZKW-fg8SnOrxoCvToQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Town Trails

Town Trails are a fantastic way to explore a new town for the whole family. Many towns have trails available either at the local library, tourist information centre or online. The trails are usually short enough for little legs and accessable. The trails often have interesting facts about the town and its landmarks and many in Wales even have a castle!

There are paid trails you can enjoy, more suited to older children or a family group these can also be great fun especially if you enjoy puzzles and exploring new places. Treasure Trails offers trails for various towns and cities throughout the UK, a great way of exploring a new place or discovering more about a place your familiar with. https://www.treasuretrails.co.uk/

Wildlife Activities

Local Wildlife Trusts run events throughout the year for adults, children and families. From nature walks to pond dipping, nature trails and craft workshops. They offer a variety of hands on activities at various locations. Have a look at your local Wildlife trust to see whats on.

Pick your own fruit

Many farms now offer PYO, offering a variety of fruit throughout the summer season. Many don’t charge for entrance they just charge for the fruit which is picked. Most PYO farms usually promote on Facebook. PYO.co.uk has a directory of fruit farms in the UK.

Local Parks

You have probably visited your local park in abundance but during the Summer holidays many local councils run free events or activities in local parks, check out you local council website for info.

Days Out – Indoors

Here in the UK, especially in the North West we are not always blessed with good weather, even during the Summer holidays – we just have too much rain!

Thinking of days out with kids when the weathers rubbish is always difficult and heh who can predict the weather.

Admittedly this is always a struggle, especially when you just neeeeed to get out of the house, but where can you go, especially without it costing a fortune!

Museums and Heritage Centres

There are a variety of Museums and Heritage Centres throughout the UK and most Museums and Heritage Centres are very interactive, keeping children engaged whilst learning. Many are free or very cheap and some even have play areas, a bonus if you can get outdoors.

Art Galleries

Not always one you would associate taking children to, but some art galleries have exhibvitiions and activities aimed at children especially during the summer holidays. 

Tate Liverpool and The Manchester Art Gallery both have lots on offer for families


Local Libraries often have activities and entertainment during school holidays, a perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon!

Science Centres

The cost of science centes varies but some are free or very cost effective. Most allow you to take your own food so you could quite easily spend the whole day there. Interactive exhibits and experiments are fun but also educational and will keep kids of all ages engaged.

How to make the most of your day

Keeping the whole family entertained all day is no easy feat and most activities will only engage kids for a couple of hours. So how can you make the day last longer and keep them entertained for the whole day?

Make the journey fun

If you are travelling by car print out some spotter sheets or puzzles before you go or play simple games which all the family can join in with. Have a playlist ready with some sing alongs or party songs or even an audio book of a favourite story.  Making the journey fun will alleviate the stress of travelling and make the journey go quicker.

Could you travel by train or bus? Kids will love a different experience of travelling and it will become an adventure before they even get there!

Pack a picnic…. and snacks…. and drinks!

Food can make the day go so much more smoothly. Don’t rely on getting food at the venue, although a lovely treat, the queues are usually horrendous, choice limited and prices expensive! If you want to treat them, offer them an icecream or a souveneir instread.

A picnic can just be a few sandwiches and crisps but if you want to make it extra special, make some themed snacks or cakes or add in some themed napkins or paper plates.

Many venues have lockers to leave your bags so you don’t have to carry it around with you all day!

Make your own entertainment

There are so many things you can do outdoors, we just forget the simple things are often the most fun! Read the post 50 Nature inspired activities to entertain the kids this Summer for some ideas for things to do. Simple activities such as nature trails, collecting, building dens can really make a simple day out special.

Relax and don’t put pressure on yourself to make it the ‘perfect’ day out. Just remember its about being together and enjoying yourselves as a family.